The best-selling luxury crossover is reborn. The 2016 Lexus RX new design is sleek, bold, and overall stunning. Inside and out the RX has been re-imagined combining the latest innovations and luxury accoutrements to create the complete package of style and comfort.
The fourth-generation RX, doesn’t hold back when it comes to style. The sharp edges and curves that wrap the body make a bold statement. The signature spindle grille reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat’s grin – is the focus as you follow the body lines through to the L-shape-LED headlamps and angular front fog lights.
A Bi-LED and L-shaped LED headlights, which are paired with 18 individual LEDs that surround the headlights and act as turn signals along with the optional Intelligent High Beam (IHB), part of the Lexus Safety System+, for additional visibility in dark conditions automatically turning down the high beams when it senses another vehicle approaching, is available.
The complimenting L-shaped taillights wrap the rear end of the vehicle giving it a masculine presence as it flows with the beefy fenders. Never before seen on a Lexus product are blacked-out C-pillars, which creates a visual continuation of movement elongating the vehicle from the front to rear.
Inside the cabin, in typical Lexus fashion, is a plethora of technology and comfort enhancements. The trim itself has been carefully selected and thought out. My favorite the Striated Black Trim features a three-dimensional embossed pattern adorned on a black base.
The seats themselves were extremely comfortable wrapped in supple leather, while also ergonomic providing support in all the right places. Once seated a mix of refinement and technology can be found from the knobless door lock to the futuristic dashboard and instrument panel. The center console is sleek and is outfitted with many features including a Micro SD card slot, side console pocket (to hold devices such as tablets), and even a height adjusting cup holder, which can be adjusted to raise and lower dependent on the type of beverage container – one of my favorite details (perfect for my extremely tall and skinny water bottle that typically gets in the way). The analog clock is a nice touch for a refined and classic look to the cabin.
The full-screen display is a step into the future (we tested the 12.3″ version, while the base model has an 8″ display). Multiple menus and functions can be accessed through this multi-media system from the navigation, music, climate control and more. The display is clear and sharp making it very easy to read in both bright and dark conditions. It does take a bit to get used to the “joystick” style controller as Lexus has opted out of the trackpad style controls found on the NX. Another feature I found missing from the RX that the NX offered was the smart phone charging platform that utilized Qi technology. I personally wish the display was a touch-screen, although I understand why its not as the distance is a bit far to reach and the display is set for ease of viewing while driving.
While driving, the Heads-up Display (HUD) provided information such as driving speed giving additional safety and convenience by allowing the driver to only slightly take the focus off the road ahead. The instrument cluster is easy to read due to the large gauge faces and provides all the standard information with speed, RPM, and gas, etc. but also extra info such as tire pressure, trip details, and more. The steering wheel controls are convenient and easy to use controlling both the instrument cluster information and the multimedia display.
Rounding out the driving experience was a Mark Levinson audio system (optional) that provided clear and crisp sound. Listening to a few of our favorite tunes (mainly from T. Swift) from the 15 speakers from 12 locations – the music was full and rich within the cabin.
We road tested the RX 450h hybrid F SPORT, which has a 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 gas engine in a hybrid powertrain. The vehicle accelerated with ease through the Oregon backroads. Zipping around the winding roads the RX handled smoothly and in control. At speed and even while driving over a bridge, the cabin remained quiet. I was impressed by the refined performance while switching through to the Sport S/S+ mode, which provided a bit more agility when cornering and a bit more of an aggressive howl via the throttle mapping.
With numerous safety features built into the vehicle it’s obvious that Lexus has made this a priority. Multiple airbags adorn the cabin protecting both driver and passenger, a tire pressure monitor system, both sway and departure lane warnings, and a dynamic radar cruise control system that can sense the the vehicle in front you to bring the car to a halt if needed. The optional Panoramic View Monitor gives a bird’s eye view of the area surrounding the vehicle to help assist in parking and backing-up situations, which I found to be very helpful and easy to use. Additionally, the blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert are optional equipment that should probably become more standard in all vehicles especially larger vehicles with blind spots.
Both the 2016 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h are great options for anyone looking for the perfect balance of sporty refinement with a touch of luxury with ample space and killer looks. I personally would opt for the F SPORT version, which is available in both the RX 350 AWD and RX 450h AWD. Not only do you get everything you could want from a luxury crossover, but you get the reliability and warranty that only Lexus provides.